Poor Man’s Chocolate Cake

Today is Ian’s birthday, and this weekend his parents and sister made the trek from Rumford to visit us in Bangor. In between an insane amount of cleaning (both due to spring fever, and to not wanting Ian’s family to think I wasn’t taking good care of him. I know that sounds really anti-feminist, but I think it’s human nature to want one’s significant other’s family to feel their child is in good hands, regardless of gender!)

Ian had told me about his traditional childhood birthday cake — chocolate, with white Jiffy frosting dyed blue and coconut flakes mixed in — and I wanted to replicate it for him. Jiffy frosting is no longer available in our area, so we ordered it online — but I am going to try to find a similar recipe in the future, because ordering a case of frosting for one birthday cake is a little silly, even though I’m sure we’ll find other uses for the remaining boxes.


This has always been my go-to chocolate cake recipe, because it’s moist and rich, and it is technically vegan, provided your frosting contains no animal products. Jiffy, unfortunately, does contain milk products, so this particular example falls short of that vegan claim. This recipe has been pulled forward from the archives of the old site, dusted off and polished up with a photo, because it deserves to be seen! And judging by what remained, it was a success with the Marquis clan.


Poor Man’s Chocolate Cake

  • 2/3 c. cocoa
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1c. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375°F; mix all dry ingredients together as listed. Stir in liquid ingredients, pour into 2 greased 8” cake tins (although we usually use a bundt cake pan.) Bake 25 minutes or until done.

Fia Marquis

Fia Marquis is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes, collecting vintage Pyrex, cooking for herself and her husband, and trying to keep up with their toddler and three cats.

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